Patients urged to stay safe in wake of Dumfries and Galloway NHS data theft

NHS Dumfries and Galloway chief executive Julie White
-Credit: (Image: Galloway News)

Every household in the region is to get an update landing on door mats this week from NHS Dumfries and Galloway giving an update on the February cyber attack.

It comes with a warning from chief executive Julie White that staff and patients are “potentially at risk” as a result of the data theft.

She said: “We are advising people in Dumfries and Galloway that the most sensible approach to take is to assume that some data relating to you is likely to have been copied and published.”

And she said that “a few simple precautions” will help anyone affected “stay safe”.

She also warns: “This is an extremely serious situation, and everyone is asked to be on their guard for any attempts to access their computer systems, or any approaches by anyone claiming to hold their data or someone else’s data.”

During the attack, criminals illegally copied large numbers of files held on NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s servers.

When their demands weren’t met, they published the stolen files onto the internet on May 6.

The health authority insists that patient medical records were not affected, but says that many other documents – such as patient letters, test results and X-rays – were copied, and later released on the internet.

The chief executive said the new public leaflet contains information on what residents can do to stay safe online and a list of frequently-asked questions. It is also available online at

She added: “Since the cyber attack, we have been asking both staff and the public to be on their guard for any suspicious activity. This includes any attempts to access computer systems, such as suspicious emails from an unverified sender asking them to click a link (known as ‘phishing’), as well as phone calls. If anyone has suspicions, they should call Police Scotland by phoning 101.”

She also said that NHS Dumfries and Galloway has since put precautions in place to protect against other similar attacks, and continues to work with Police Scotland and other government agencies to support their investigation.

More information about the incident, and details about where to find help and advice, are online at